"Yuri Gagarin was the first person to see the Earth from space and was struck by its beauty, its fragility and humanity's duty to protect it," he added.
Personally, I was overwhelmed by the attendance at this launch event, it was a wonderful sight. The enthusiasm for the future of spaceflight, not just in the UK and Russia but for the entire human race, was tangible.
Could this be a sign that the UK's attitude toward space investment is warming? Possibly. But in the back of my mind, I'm concerned the new UK government may not grasp the investment that is needed to get the UK back to the global stage of manned spaceflight and exploration.
The commercial satellite industry is obviously thriving, will David Cameron's government increase funding to support the burgeoning UKSP? In the US, President Obama may be gunning to scrap the Constellation Program, but overall funding to NASA has increased. Does the US example demonstrate a global change in attitude to science spending as a means to inspire, innovate and bolster economies? I think only time will tell.